Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.
Predicting who will contribute early to a program can be tricky. Star ratings no longer matter once everyone arrives on campus. Trying to handicap who could play early becomes so much about opportunity, fit and a bit of luck. Derek Peterson’s dove into freshman wide receiver production recently. That got me thinking about realistic expectations for who could play early.
Early enrollees typically have a leg up but the COVID-19 pandemic changed that. It’s going to be difficult to gauge what benefit (if any) the nine early enrollees that Nebraska had were able to get. Not being able to have spring football will hurt them in getting a leg up on their classmates. Still, there is one freshman early enrollee poised to play early.
Wide receiver Alante Brown could end up in Nebraska’s rotation early in the season. Brown will give the Huskers another do-everything type of athlete for coach Scott Frost to use in his offense. At St. Thomas More in Connecticut, he caught passes, lined up in the backfield and returned kicks. He is a speedy playmaker who looks like a natural wide receiver. Not playing the position full time in high school makes his ceiling high. Coming from prep school could help him be a bit more physically ready to college football as well.
Junior college players are typically safe bets to end up plugging a hole somewhere on the team after arriving. Wide receiver Omar Manning is a virtual lock to start at an outside receiver spot for Nebraska this fall. Outside of Manning, it’s unclear what fans can expect from the JUCO crop this year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see linebacker Eteva Mauga-Clements, lineman Jordon Riley or lineman Pheldarius Payne carve out a role but it is hard to predict currently.
There are a couple other position groups where someone will emerge but it is hard to peg. Running backs Marvin Scott III and Sevion Morrison will arrive with potential. Physically the pair will be ready to play. Nebraska will likely need one or both of them to see the field in 2020. The inexperience behind Dedrick Mills and running back usage in the offense is good for them.
Defensive back is another position that Nebraska improved the roster on paper. The problem there is that it’s tough now for Braxton Clark, Quinton Newsome and Myles Farmer to see the field in a veteran room. It will be even more difficult for true freshmen to make an impact outside of special teams.
There is a lot of young talent to be excited about joining the team in June. The easy part is being excited about what many of them can be down the road. It is much more difficult to see which ones will play significant snaps early.
>> Nebraska outside linebacker target TJ Bollers picked up a big offer from Notre Dame on Tuesday. The Irish are hoping to claw their way back into the mix.
— TJ Bollers (@tj35ballin) May 26, 2020
>> Offensive line target Marcus Mbow is the latest Husker target to join in on posting fishing pictures.
— Marcus Mbow (@MarcusMbow) May 26, 2020
Mbow also picked up an offer from Indiana.
>> Georgia offensive lineman Bryson Estes included the Huskers in his top five on Tuesday.
— Bryson Estes (@Brysonestes77) May 26, 2020
>> Florida defensive back Gabe Nealy left the Michigan State recruiting class on Monday evening.
I would like to Thank Coach Tucker and the MSU coaching staff for giving me the opportunity to live out my dream of playing Division I football, but at this time I will be de-committing from Michigan State University. NO LOVE LOST.
NO Interviews. Thank you.
— Gabe “Spida” Nealy🕷 (@GabeNealy1) May 26, 2020
>> I took a look at some defensive line names to know (Premium) for the Huskers this recruiting cycle.
>> Derek Peterson dove into the numbers to see what type of impact can be expected (Premium) from true freshmen wide receivers.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.